04 May 2012

Au Revoir

Yesterday we said "au revoir" to our French friends. Charlie was especially sad to see them go. He is my EXTRA-vert. On their last night with us, my boy of 11 years sat up into the wee hours of the night chatting with Clément-long after the rest of us had called it a night {of course Clément was sitting on his bed-i.e. the sofa so Charlie really had no choice but to keep him company}.

We had such a lovely visit with our non English speaking house guests. A delight to be able to mingle with a culture very unlike ours. To be uncomfortable. For our boys to struggle and even laugh over misunderstood words. It felt like we were playing charades."Those mountains are where the Appalachian Trail runs," we pointed out our back window. The Frenchmen politely nodding. We kept saying, "Make yourselves at home," as we pointed to the kitchen. We are accustomed to visitors rummaging through our cupboards finding whatever they need. But our Frenchmen were gracious and reserved. Each morning I prepared a homemade pastry and served them strong coffee and fruit. They were incredibly appreciative of the simple homemade touches. Clément clenched his fist, "You make strong coffee. French people like strong coffee." I took that as a compliment. 
My favorite was hearing them sing Hank Williams

I did manage to understand that André has 3 grown daughters: Evelyn, Michele and Pascal. Clément was at home with our 4 boys since he is the father of 3 very young sons. He was very comfortable singing and playing the guitar for our boys which they loved. He is the conductor for the French ballet. I must say that when it comes to finding opportunities to broaden our scope of experience, I really enjoy finding random and hopefully meaningful ways to enliven our lives. This was one of those experiences, and I hope there are more. It is one thing to open our home to a familiar friend. It is something altogether different to do so with a stranger who doesn't speak my language. Challenging and worthwhile. 
Finding their homes on Google Earth.
"You are good at your mother job. I like to see that." Those were the words Clément left me with as we kissed cheeks and said goodbye. A huge compliment sent to me from afar. I will savor those words as I will savor all the French delicacies they left with us brought to us from across the ocean. If ever you have the opportunity to welcome a stranger into your home, I hope you jump at the chance. You will be enriched. xo

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